Video game box art generally has the creative chutzpah of a milk carton. Bloated, blunt and banal, it seeks to attract the broadest audience. Genre games in particular rely on marketing crutches. Games with guns portray a stoic, bald, HGH injected hero plunging through the rubble of a fallen metropolis or the viscera of a gored mutant, while adaptations of comic books parade the brand’s most recognizable superheros. Where’s the Criterion Collection of video games?
The problem isn’t local to the art. The title regularly takes a third of a box’s real estate. A flattering quote from an effusive blogger, the ESRB rating block and developer and publisher logos might take another third. So even if the artist dares to be creative, his or her work will likely be buried below 4 or 5 different, bold-faced fonts.
There are always the Limited Editions with plastic boxes that are often encased in a prettier cardboard slip and cost an extra 5 to 10 bucks. If you have the change, it’s an option.
However, in the past few years, fans have stopped waiting on the publishers to buck the trend and placed the onus upon themselves to design creative, subtle box art. Their works takes inspiration from the Criterion Collection, naturally, but also grind house posters and Penguin covers.
Kotaku recently highlighted artist Lechaftois Boris, who has posted a number of sleek book cover/box art designs for classic and popular games. Prints are available for purchase should you want to reupholster your game library.